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The American D 9 AT was an early directive microphone, from 1938. It had two dynamic elements: a pressure and a velocity transducer (one open, the other baffled). This created a more sensitive microphone with stronger output and therefore produced a better signal than the dynamic omni's and the ribbon mics of that era. It was often used for Public Address since it had twice as much gain before feedback, compared to its contemporaries.

It was also rugged, immune to weather conditions and very useful for in-studio broadcasts, because of its wide dynamic range.

The American company advertised the D 9 A T as the mic with 30% more power (volume) than others.

The Art Deco design resembled the huge, stylish skyscrapers of the Thirties that dominated the skyline of New York and other major US cities.
The 'look' of the American microphones was often way ahead of the competition.

Although American was one of the first five companies in the United States to produce microphones in the nineteen-twenties, most of their products were later based upon Western Electric designs (both firms originated from the American Telegraph and Telephone Company).

Sometimes history seems ironic; in 1939 Shure presented the 55 Unidyne: the first directive microphone with just one element. With it Shure had a model that could be produced much cheaper, and it sold in large numbers. Their newest product, the KSM8, is fitted with two capsules, so after more than 75 years, that company too believes there is a future for this technique.

This is one of the types that feature in my book Witnesses of Words, which was recently released. More information about that can be found at

wow cover


American D 9
American D 9 AT ad